Speed can be defined as the ability to cover a certain distance in the shortest time possible. Every athlete wants to be fast, and every coach is looking for fast athletes. Few things are more intimidating to opponents than an aggressive, fast, scrappy team. Speed allows you to beat your opponent to the goal. Speed can demolish your rival. Speed kills!
Although much of your potential for developing speed is determined by genetics, speed is a skill that can be improved through proper training.
The ability to quickly move the body through space is directly controlled by coordination and strength. Running fast is all about applying force as quickly as possible (a.k.a. power). Whether it's the foot applying force into the ground or the hip flexor driving the swing leg forward, these violent actions must happen blindingly fast when you're running.
Below are some of the best training drills to help increase your speed. To ensure proper form, have a coach or partner watch you the first few times you perform each drill. If you are physically unable to perform correct technique, stop. Repeating poor technique over and over just make those bad habits harder to break. Once you've mastered your form, you can perform the drills alone. Follow the videos below in order for proper progression.
Note: All exercise descriptions are within the video, so stop, pause or rewind at any time.
Sets/Duration: 3x30 seconds each drill
Quick Step Cycles (Ankling)
Sets/Distance: 4x10 yards
Sets/Distance: 4x20 yards
Fast Leg Series A and B
Sets/Distance: 4x20 yards for both series
Shelton Stevens is a member of the strength staff at the University of Southern Mississippi. Prior to joining USM, he was the head strength coach at Nova Southeastern University (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). He has also worked under LSU strength coach Tommy Moffitt, helping to train the Tigers’ nationally-ranked football team and their 2009 national champion baseball team. During his career, he has worked with four national champions, seven conference champions and 12 All-Americans. He is CSCCa, SCCC, USAW, NSCA and RSCC certified, and he holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and a master’s degree in athletic administration. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.